“I felt like I was at home”

Augusta Muhimpundu from Burundi was at the SEZ from November 2017 to the end of June 2018 as a trainee as part of the AFRIKA COMES! program. We spoke to her about her work at the SEZ and her experiences with and in Germany.

You have now been a trainee at the SEZ for eight months. What have you learned during this time?

On the one hand, I learned German and on the other hand, I learned to work in an environment that was completely unfamiliar to me. So far I have lived and worked in Africa. In Germany, I worked for an organization that works closely with the state government.

Over the past eight months, I have learned to be a bridge between Burundi and Baden-Württemberg. Specifically, I conducted a study in Stuttgart with Burundian women on the topic of gender equality. The question was how can, or even better, how must, we incorporate Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is about gender equality, into partnership work so that we can achieve more gender equality in Burundi and Baden-Württemberg. For me it would be important to carry out such a survey among women in Baden-Württemberg so that both perspectives would be available.

The results from both surveys could then be implemented by the SEZ, for example.


What's next for you now? What are you planning to do next?

I would really like to gain more experience on the topic of development cooperation between Germany or Europe and Africa. Who are the actors and what can I do to make the collaboration work better?

But first I will finish the program. To do this, I am now going to Berlin, where I will complete various training courses together with the other scholarship holders, including management training. And of course we will also take a look at Berlin.


What do you do after you finish the program?

I'm flying back home to Burundi. I want to apply everything I learned here in Germany and put it into practice back home in Burundi. This is my greatest motivation to share everything I have learned with the people in my home country. Just as I shared my experiences and knowledge from Burundi with my German colleagues.


What will you personally take back to Burundi from your stay in Germany?

I felt as comfortable in Germany as if I were at home. The people I met were interested in me, they wanted to know who I was and where I came from.

What was interesting to me was how a landscape changes over the seasons. I experienced that here for the first time.

The German language partly irritated me. Especially the words that sound almost the same in German and my native language Kirundi, but have a completely different meaning. For example, the German word 'bitte'. In Kirundi there is a very similar word: 'bite'. Translated it means: 'how are you'. Or the word 'evil'. It is spelled the same in both languages ​​and is actually pronounced the same, but in Kirundi it means 'all people'. These similarities confused me a bit, especially at first.

Thanks to financial support from the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) was able to provide the trainee place for Augusta Muhimpundu.

AFRICA IS COMING! is an initiative of leading German companies. The program is carried out by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH.

Related Links:

Robert Bosch Foundation


German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH

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